Well in some quarters. Like the current US administration. Despite the fact that torture is morally indefensible in theory and more often than not counter productive in practicality. Case example - the so called high value detainees in the black prisons were alleged only to start really talking when they received humane treatment (according to this Time article - see here).
Torture is so in at the moment that it's basically the central plank of the 24 franchise, which I believe from memory has featured about 60+ incidents of torture by the central protagonist.
No surprises there. Torture is rife throughout mainstream TV and film. The tough, hard as nails hero beating the tar out of evil doers for information, or turning the table on them having been tortured himself. It's a rare movie where a hero says something along the lines of 'no, to do so would be stooping to their level.'
How I remembered cheering Arnie when the dude he was dangling over the cliff said 'I thought you said you'd kill me last?!' and Arnie risposted in monotone 'I lied.'
Anyway, this article in the Wash Post makes some interesting points. The main point being that allowing a little bit opens the gates for a lot.
As has happened with every other nation that has tried to engage in a little bit of torture -- only for the toughest cases, only when nothing else works -- the abuse spread like wildfire, and every captured prisoner became the key to defusing a potential ticking time bomb. Our soldiers in Iraq confront real "ticking time bomb" situations every day, in the form of improvised explosive devices, and any degree of "flexibility" about torture at the top drops down the chain of command like a stone -- the rare exception fast becoming the rule.
To understand the impact this has had on the ground, look at the military's mental health assessment report released earlier this month. The study shows a disturbing level of tolerance for abuse of prisoners in some situations. This underscores what we know as military professionals: Complex situational ethics cannot be applied during the stress of combat. The rules must be firm and absolute; if torture is broached as a possibility, it will become a reality.
And don't by all means think the authors are loony lefty types with no experience of how the real world works when it comes to terrorism, war, and the world being filled with bad men that need their toe shot off because the bomb timer is ticking down to zero, the authors, Charles Krulak and Joseph P. Hoar, were former high ranking career military. Krulak was commandant of the Marine Corps from 1995 to 1999 and Hoar was commander in chief of U.S. Central Command from 1991 to 1994.
Oh - for a review of the 24 series in the NYT which discusses the fantasy presented Vs the reality esp in regards to the 'he knows something, apply the electrodes', see here. Page 2 references the 60+ torture count for the first 5 seasons.